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Chapter 5

5.2 White Lining

Practice Statement:

When the excavation site cannot be clearly and adequately identified on the locate ticket, the excavator designates the route and/or area to be excavated using white premarking, either onsite or electronically (when available through the one call center), prior to or during the request for the locate ticket.67

Practice Description:

The route of the excavation is marked with white paint, flags, stakes, lines, polygons, or a combination of these to outline the dig site prior to or during notification to the one call center and before the locator arrives on the job. Electronic white lining when available provides an alternative method where excavators may indicate their defined dig area visually by electronic data entry (lines or polygons) without the need for a physical site visit. The technology allows the excavator to identify for the locate technician a clear delineation of their proposed excavation area. Premarking allows the excavators to accurately communicate to the one call center, facility owners/operators, or their locator where excavation is to occur. The 1997 safety study “Protecting Public Safety through Excavation Damage Prevention” by the NTSB reached the conclusion that premarking is a practice that helps prevent excavation damage. Maine was one of the first states to have mandatory premarking for non-emergency excavations. Connecticut also adopted a premarking requirement; however, the law provides for face-to-face meetings between operators and excavators on projects that are too large for or not conductive to premarking. Facility owners/operators can avoid unnecessary work created when locating facilities that are not associated with planned excavation. (See Appendix B for additional practice information).


  • Existing state laws, including California, Missouri, New Jersey, and others
  • Lambert’s Cable Construction, LLC and UtiliQuest, LLC; Verizon Fios drop placement process in VA, MD and DC
  • One Call Concepts; Internet Ticket Processing (ITIC) – excavation polygon feature to define entire proposed excavation areas
  • Virginia Pilot Project; Phase I – Electronic White Lining Study

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